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« More Thoughts On The Tenth Anniversary | Main | Offense By Surrogate »

An Ode To Laziness

I have often been accused of being "lazy." Even by people who I know and love. Even, on occasion, by myself.

But what was the basis for the accusation?

Apparently, that I am not continually busy. That I often indulge in the very effective technique of "management by procrastination." That I often do what needs to be done without breaking a sweat, and while waiting until the last minute to do it.

Once, in college (in the dark ages prior to word processors), I wrote a term paper, that I had known was due for many weeks, due the next day at the end of the semester, in an all-nighter, on a manual typewriter, with no notes, no citations, no...nothing. I had just been thinking about the subject for weeks, and the night before it was due, I sat down, and knocked out a twelve-page typewritten paper, with minor erasures, in a night. I got an A minus.

So I have mixed feelings when I hear that Fred Thompson is "lazy."

Now, I don't think that Fred Thompson is lazy. I just think that, despite the southern drawl, which many (mistakenly, as anyone who has worked with smart NASA employees and contractors in Houston, Huntsville and the Cape would know) think is a mark of a slow mentality, that he works smart, and cheap. Robert Heinlein once wrote that: "Progress is made by lazy men looking for easier ways to do things."

I believe that.

I don't want a president, or a presidential candidate, who is frenetically scurrying around, appearing to be doing something, particularly two years before the swearing in. If he's really a conservative (as he claims to be, though I'm not necessarily), I'm perfectly happy with a president who, when demanded to do something, just stands there. And as a libertarian, opposed to big government, I'm happy to have a president who will think before acting, and who believes that the first instinct should not be to pass yet another federal law.

I'm actually quite pleased with Fred Thompson's campaign style to date. It saddens me that so many others, who would be otherwise disposed to vote for him, are not. I'm saddened that they think that he needs to stoke a "fire in the belly," rather than simply employ the minimum resources needed to win the election. You would think that the warm-mongers would be pleased at Fred's lack of energy and want to vote for him, to help save the planet. As an engineer, I'm extremely impressed with his efficiency. As a result, it's very frustrating to know that, if everyone who would vote for him "if he only had a chance" would actually vote for him, that he'd have a chance. It's kind of the reverse of Yogi Berra's old saying that "no one goes downtown any more; it's too crowded."

So here's where the mixed feelings come in. As an engineer, one needs margins. I'm concerned that he cut it a little too close. I'm afraid that in waiting just a little too long to get in, and in waiting just a little too long to finally go after the Elmer Gantrys and other pretenders to Republicanism and conservatism, that he's just missed the boat.

Despite this fear, I will continue to support him, and hope that I'm wrong, into South Carolina and beyond. Because if so, he will prove to be the most parsimonious president in American history. And I think we could use not just a little, but a lot of that right now.

Posted by Rand Simberg at January 17, 2008 09:16 PM
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